Stratford-upon-Avon Library is to start a new chapter in 2017 with the opening of a new ceremony room for weddings.
The historic library building, next door to Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street, will accommodate Stratford’s Registration Office from the end of the year with marriage ceremonies being offered from February 2017.
The move comes as the Registration Office’s lease at Winton House on Church Street expires. Although the county council was able to secure a temporary lease at Winton House for an additional 12 months, a long-term solution needed to be found so that people could continue to use registration services in the centre of town.
The co-location of library and registration services will help the council to deliver better value for money by accommodating both services in one building.
Diane Lampard, Superintendent Registrar for Warwickshire County Council, said: “We are very excited by the move which will offer couples wanting to get married in Stratford a landmark location next door to Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
“The history, prominence and desirability of this location, will improve our registration offer to local and overseas customers.”
The plans include the creation of two self-contained offices for the registration of births and deaths, in addition to a ceremony space called The Henley Room on the ground floor.
The Henley Room, which will have a separate entrance to the Public Library, will be used for marriages for up to 35 guests and special library activities such as author events. The room will also unlock a historic and fascinating part of the building – the former entrance to Stratford’s Technical School – which dates back to the late 1800s.
Tracey Baker, Customer Services Manager for Warwickshire Libraries, explained that the plans have been drawn up to capitalise on existing space and that officers were given “a very strict brief” not to lose library shelving or computer facilities.
She said: “It is vitally important that any move is in the interest of all our customers and we are working hard to minimise disruption to library users.”
From mid-September work will start on the ground floor of the library and from late October a smaller pop up library will be available within the building. The town will be briefly without access to the library for a short period in early December for final works, before the building becomes fully operational in mid-December.